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July 24, 2014
Kazue stared upon his prey. The fox antelope continued to eat the grass, unaware of Kazue's presence. The boy reached for his pocket, grabbing his khukri. He didn't know how he wanted to kill this creature. He had successfully hunted down animals before by using the element of surprise, but this was different. Those animals were small and only fed his family one to two nights. This is a full grown fox antelope. It could feed the family for over a week! The fox antelope could probably run with hearing even the quietest sound.
As quietly as he could, Kazue stood up to his feet, still being unnoticed by the animal. He tip toed around the bush, sneaking up on the fox antelope from its back side. Crunch! Kazue accidentally stepped on a leaf, startling the hybrid. It began to run away from Kazue, but something inside the young boy clicked, and he aimed his khukri right for the animals' belly. He threw his weapon with all his strength, and it flew right towards the creature. Instead of it hitting near the stomach, it landed right in its neck, causing it to fall over. As Kazue walked over to retrieve his weapon, he watched as the fox antelope died in a small puddle of its own blood. Kazue has always felt bad for taking the life of another soul, but it's a way of survi--
"Naomi? What are you doing in my room?" Wakato asks, bringing me out of my visions I was having for the story I was reading.
I'm not really sure how I ended up in Wakato's room in the first place. When Ryoma told me they were going out for a man-to-man trip in town, I knew I'd have time for myself this morning. I remember about fifteen minutes ago, I decided to walk aimlessly around the house out of boredom, and that somehow led me in here. I saw Wakato's favorite book as a child on his bed; Kazue and his Khukri. Dad used to read us the story before we fell asleep sometimes. It didn't have as much of an emotional impact on me, but I still like the story. I'm sure Wakato grew up wishing he could become this boy someday. He's never hunted down an animal before, but I'm sure he'd be good at it.
"Sorry, I just walked by your room and got lost in this book. Remember when dad read it to us?"
Wakato's facial expression turns from a mad looking one, to a heartwarming smile. "Yeah. I knew how the adventure would end, but I still didn't want to fall asleep until it was over. Kazue may not be real, but he's always been a big inspiration for my future weaponry collection."
My heart rapidly starts to pump at the sound of a noise getting closer to our room. Ryoma shows himself in the doorway. Must have been his loud sounding feet when they run. "Didn't you tell your sister the news?" he questions excitedly.
"While your brother and I were in town, we saw this guy traveling towards Gaoling on some weird looking creature. He looks like he's from the Water Tribe!"
I'm not sure why it's so amazing that someone from a different culture is traveling to a place where they're not from, but I'm never met anyone from the other three nations before. It could be exciting to get to know them. It does seem rather odd that a Water Tribe citizen is in the Earth Kingdom, but there's a reason for everything. Before I can say anything about this news, the sound of people cheering in the distance catches our attention simultaneously. That couldn't be for the Water Tribe guy, could it? He's just from a different nation after all.
"What's with all the cheering?" Wakato asks.
"Come on, let's go!" Ryoma shouts, signaling us to follow him.
Wakato and I catch up with Ryoma and quickly rush out the front door. While running further and further into town, the screams and cheers from the locals become louder, hurting my eardrums. Who are these people cheering for? Why are they cheering? We make it into the heart of where the cheers are coming from, and the people in front of us move away enough for me to get a good look at the person receiving the positive attention. It's the Water Tribe guy. I've never seen anyone like him. His hair is a dark, silky brown, and flows in the wind with ease. His eyes, an interesting shade of blue. They look pretty close to the same color of the ocean near the edge of Chin Village. His shirt almost matches the same color of his eyes, and I don't know what he's wearing over his shirt, but it's purple, white, and really adds to the outfit. What animal is he riding on anyway? It looks like a goat dog, but more well-kept and a lot taller.
The stranger hops off his animal, and waves to the crowd with a confident smile. "Thank you, everyone!" He yells over the shouts from the locals. "Thank you for welcoming me into this wonderful town! I look forward to learning about your culture and mastering earthbending!"
The cheers become louder again. Earthbending? But he's a...wait. That's why the crowd is so happy. That's Avatar Kentaro! The most important human being in the whole world. The bridge between our world and the Spirit World. It's an honor to be in his presence. Or is it? Now that I think about it, he also could have been there to stop the war between Gaoling and Chin Village, but wasn't. How could these people cheer him on knowing that the casualties that were caused during the war could have been a much less number if he showed up sooner?
The crowd begins to leave person by person, but Ryoma refuses to leave. Why does he care so much about meeting him? Yeah, the Avatar is an amazing person, but I just don't think I can forgive him for his absence in our war.
"Avatar Kentaro, it is an honor to meet you in person," Ryoma says as he bows in respect to him. "I'm Ryoma, and these are my two good friends, Naomi and Wakato."
I know it would be socially correct for me to bow to him, but I can't bring myself to doing it. Avatar Kentaro bows back to Ryoma, still showing off his confident smile. "It's wonderful to meet you all. However, I should probably find somewhere to stay for the next...well, I guess place to stay until I master earthbending."
"It would be a pleasure to have you stay at my household. We have plenty of extra space and my parents would be more than welcome to have you stay. Plus, I'm an earthbender. If you need a teacher, you're looking at one right now!"
How can Ryoma just invite this person into his household and assume Hayao and Ishi will be okay with it? Yeah, he kind of just brought Wakato and I in, but it's not like anyone else would be willing to offer a place for the Avatar to stay. Anyone would be begging the Avatar to join their household for even just an hour! And how about our opinions too? Wakato can't be any more happy about this than me.
"Well, if you insist, lead the way to your place!" the Avatar states as he hops back on his hybrid animal. "Lets go, Taya," he says, instructing his animal guide.
The walk home starts off on a quiet note. I'm too mad to speak, Ryoma is too starstruck to speak, and Wakato looks like he wants to stab something. By the time we reach the front door of the Shimabukuro home, the door swings open, and both Hayao and Ishi are already accepting Avatar Kentaro like a family member. I can't stand looking at all these people that are so amazed by this Avatar and thinking he's the best one we've ever had! He's done nothing for this world! Maybe he knows three out of the four elements, but he still could have done something!
I angrily barge into my room, and fall backwards on my bed. Why is he here? Why does everyone appreciate him for nothing? The sound of my door being slammed startles me until I see Wakato next to my bed, and angrily sits next to me.
"You upset about this too?" he asks.
"Yes! What has he done for us and Gaoling other than be a huge disappointment?"
"Exactly! And now we have to put up with him until he masters earthbending!"
I look over to Wakato. I don't know what it is about him right now, but as he's staring off, squinting in deep thought, I can see the wheels turning in his head. He's thinking of a plan. I'm not sure what kind of plan, but I can tell he's putting a lot of thought into it.
"Unless.....we could leave Gaoling. We could tell the Shimabukuro family that we've been thinking about leaving for a few days and want to travel the world."
Out of all the suggestions Wakato could come up with, I was not expecting this one. Leave Gaoling? Seems weird for me to be hesitant on doing that since I didn't even want to set foot in it when we got here. So much has happened since that day. The Shimabukuro family have been like a family to me -- a family to us. And Ryoma...he's been more incredible then I could ever imagine. All of them have been here for us when we needed them most. How can we just leave them all so suddenly? I know we could, but all because we have a dislike towards our current Avatar? That's not right.
"No. I'm sorry, Wakato, but we can't do that. It would get us away from Avatar Kentaro, but you also have to remember that the Shimabukuro family have been there for us during some rough times. We'll just have to bite our tongues until he leaves. Who knows, maybe he'll turn out to be a better Avatar then we think."
Though he looks angry that I'm not going along with the plan, Wakato nods it off. I get the feeling a part of me will regret having to get to know our mighty Avatar. I can only hope I'm right about him being a good Avatar and not some lazy person who doesn't want to do his job.
"Wow, so that's where you got Taya from," Ryoma exclaims excitedly at the dinner table.
"Yeah. My parents suggested for me to go to the Northern Water Tribe to meet our sister tribe, but I had no intentions of finding my animal guide there."
"So, you've just been traveling the world with her?"
"Yup. Before we got here, we walked through some other town called Chin Village." Avatar Kentaro takes a second out of his story to wail a hearty laugh. "Man, you won't believe how pathetic that place is!"
As I bring a bite of chicken to my mouth, I stop myself midway at the sound of Avatar Kentaro mocking mine and Wakato's old home. He's the Avatar! How can the bridge between our worlds even think the life that poor people have is funny?
"You wouldn't believe it! This town uses the mud on the ground to throw at each other like it's a snowball!"
The more Avatar Kentaro hysterically laughs like a hog monkey, the more anger builds up inside me. My hands turn into tight fists. My eyebrows narrow downwards, glaring at him like he's my prey. How can he laugh? Why does he think it's funny to be poor?
My emotions get the better of me and I slam my fists on the table, causing the plates and cups to rattle. Avatar Kentaro looks over at me, startled and concerned. I'm glad I have his attention, because he's about to regret every word he just said.
"HOW DARE YOU TALK ABOUT CHIN VILLAGE THAT WAY! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE THE AVATAR AND GET TO LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE IT'S ALWAYS A BLESSING DOESN'T MEAN YOU CAN MAKE FUN OF THE UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE LIKE THEY DON'T HAVE FEELINGS! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO HELP PEOPLE, NOT MAKE THEM FEEL WORTHLESS! WHAT KIND OF AVATAR ARE YOU ANYWAY?"
The room becomes dead silent and everyone's eyes are on me. They're about as speechless as I am at this point. Avatar Kentaro looks shocked more than anyone. His eyes are wide and he's leaning back, almost as if he's afraid of me. I hope he is. He should be. As I keep looking at the looks I've gotten, Ryoma can't even bring himself to face me. Is he upset that he didn't speak up for Wakato and I? Did I embarrass him? What have I done? I just yelled at the most important person in the world. Yes, I had every right to defend Chin Village, but was that the way to do it? The anger begins to go down and is replaced by the feeling of sadness and disappointment. Out of my control, I can feel tears forming in my eyes. Not wanting anyone to see me like this, I silently excuse myself from the table and run down the hall as the tears fall down on my cheeks.
I wipe the tears from my face and walk over to my door. There in the doorway stands Ryoma. I hope he's not mad at me. I hope he doesn't want me to lea--
To my surprise, he wraps his arms around my upper body, and holds my head in his hands. Why is he doing this? I don't deserve to be comforted after the way I acted.
"Are you doing okay?" He asks in our embrace.
I still don't want to verbally respond to anyone after my outburst, so I just nod my head, feeling his soft clothing as it tickles my nose.
Ryoma takes one of his hands off my head, and closes the door behind us. He breaks up our hug and takes a hold of my hand instead, leading me to my bed. As we sit down, Ryoma says, "I hope you don't mind, but I explained to Avatar Kentaro about how you used to live in Chin Village. If you would like to explain yourself more, he's just outside the door."
Explain myself? What for? I should apologize for yelling though.
"Let him in," I say quietly.
Ryoma walks to my door and opens it, signalling Avatar Kentaro for him to come in. As he walks in my room, Ryoma closes the door. I clear my throat so it doesn't sound like I'm choking on my tears.
"Ryoma told me about how you used to live in Chin Village. I'm so sorry for making fun of it. I've never been somewhere that is so dirt poor. Thank you for making me realize that it was wrong for me to laugh."
"I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have raised my voice just because I was mad at you. I went through a lot in Chin Village. Why weren't you there to help us during the war?"
Avatar Kentaro raises his eyebrow at my question. "What war?"
"The war between Chin Village and Gaoling. It lasted for six months."
"There was a war? No one told me about a war. Did anything bad happen?"
I really wish he didn't ask me that.
"Well...Chin Village won, but my father was killed during the battle. Soon after we found out, my mother went insane and my brother and I had to leave."
Avatar Kentaro looks like he wants to slap himself in the face. "Oh man. I am so sorry. If I had known, I would've been here to help. I was still in airbending training. How could my teachers not let me know about this?"
"Don't feel bad. I've been mad at you this whole time for not being there to help out. How could you be there if you didn't even know?"
"Can we just forget that this whole day never happened? I'd love to get to know you better."
"I'd love to. It's nice to meet you on good terms, Avatar Kentaro. I'm Naomi." I say as I bow to him.
"Please, call me Kent. It's a pleasure to meet you too."
After he bows back, we shake hands and he shows off his confident smile.
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